Severe Flu Raises Risk Of Birth Problems For Pregnant Women, Babies
Need another reason to get the flu shot if you're pregnant?
A study out this week shows that pregnant women with the flu who are hospitalized in an intensive care unit are four times more likely to deliver babies prematurely and four and a half times more likely to have a baby of low birth weight.
Researchers compared 490 pregnant women with the flu and 1,451 who did not have the flu. Sixty-four of the women with flu were so ill that they were admitted to a hospital ICU. The results appear in the journal Birth Defects Research.
The study also found that babies of the most seriously ill women were eight times more likely to have low Apgar scores, a measure of a baby's health in the minutes after birth. The test assesses the baby's color, heart rate, reflexes, muscle tone and breathing.
It's not clear exactly how being in the ICU may have affected the newborns, says Dr. Sonja Rasmussen of the University of Florida College of Medicine, one of the study's authors. She doesn't think the virus itself causes the problems, but concedes there's not enough information to draw firm conclusions.